BC Mayors’ support national call on federal government to extend Safe Restart Agreement for critical transit funding

THE BC Urban Mayors’ Caucus (BCUMC), representing 13 municipalities and more than 55 per cent of British Columbians, on Wednesday announced they were joining the national call to the Government of Canada to extend critical public transportation funding – specifically to TransLink, BC Transit and BC Ferries in B.C. – beyond the Federal 2020 Safe Restart Agreement.

They noted that affordable, reliable and accessible public transit is critical to the economic, social and environmental future of our cities.

Public transit is one of four strategic pillars identified in the BCUMC’s Blueprint for British Columbia’s Urban Future.

“Strong transportation networks are pivotal to our communities’ health, resilience, and economic recovery post-pandemic,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, BCUMC Co-Chair. “We know that reliable public transit and transportation is a backbone to business and workforce revitalization, education and training enabling students to get to class, provides connections to new housing options and gives access for residents of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to community and health services.”

The mayors said that with the pandemic ongoing, investing in transportation has never been more important for economic recovery to ensure residents can get to work, school and appointments easily, reliably and affordably. Investments in transportation supports the critical needs of today that the pandemic has placed on transit systems and operations, but also so that momentum continues on the future visions for sustainable public transportation to meet the needs of rapidly growing communities.

Safeguarding and expanding transportation networks plays a vital role in our communities’ ability to meet the aggressive climate change and adaptation targets set by the federal and provincial governments for a greener, healthier Canada.

The BCUMC asked the Government of Canada to continue building on the success of its funding partnership with the Government of British Columbia to ensure affordable public transportation services continue to function as a catalyst for economic recovery, a key component for climate action, and to advance equity, equality and inclusion that will promote the growth of the middle class.

“For our cities to remain competitive in a post-pandemic economy we must keep building transit-friendly communities and invest consistently in high quality transportation that reduces road congestion and greenhouse gas emission, keeps our goods moving efficiently on limited road space and offers an affordable transportation mode to all residents,” said Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, BCUMC Co-Chair.

The BC Urban Mayors’ Caucus Blueprint for British Columbia’s Urban Future, outlines four key priorities for urban communities across the province:

  1. Mental Health, Substance Use and Treatment
  2. Affordable Housing
  3. Public Transit
  4. A New Fiscal Framework